I'm sort of convinced we're in the last days of the large tower PC. Sure, they're not going to up and disappear tomorrow, but like the massive room-sized supercomputers of old I think we're going to see full- and even mid-size cases relegated to niche uses in the next few years. Yes, even for gaming PCs.
Miniaturization is the order of the day. And if you're thinking, “Well I can't get the same performance out of a micro-PC,” you're right—but that doesn't mean companies aren't trying.
Just take a look at Silverstone's new 700W SFX-L power supply, the SX700-LPT:
It's the first of its kind. Previously, the largest SFX power supply you could buy was rated for 600W.
600W is still better than any other small form factor power supply a few years ago, and it's allowed for single-card micro-PC gaming builds. In fact, most people with a 600W power supply are unlikely to encounter the upper limits. Even the lofty Titan X only requires a 600W power supply for a standard gaming build.
Why this matters: 700W gives you just a bit more overhead—whether you're overclocking or determined to cram two SLIed cards into your tiny micro-PC's innards (or maybe dealing with the R9 290X's ludicrous power draw requirements at peak). You could even theoretically drive a pair of Titan X's with a 700W power supply (250W each, for 500W total) though depending on the rest of the set-up you might be pushing the system's limits, especially under load.
Another bonus: The SX700-LPT is 80 PLUS Platinum-rated, meaning more efficiency, meaning less heat leaking into your tiny case.
The trade-off: You might've noticed Silverstone dubbed this an SFX-L power supply. To hit 700W, you'll unfortunately have to sacrifice another three centimeters of case space. And while three centimeters might not sound like much, in a micro-PC that can mean potentially blocking off quite a bit of airflow.
But wait, there's more
Along with the new power supply, Silverstone also unveiled two new cases and two liquid coolers at Computex.
This stuff is more routine than the SX700-LPT. Describing the new liquid coolers, Silverstone's press release literally says “They won’t break any performance records, but should have respectable performance close to full size ones while fitting in cases that would normally be out of the question.” I can appreciate that sort of straight talking, no-nonsense approach. Nevertheless, the TD02-SLIM and TD-03 SLIM are “designed to be the slimmest liquid coolers you can buy on the market” a.k.a. perfect for micro-PCs.
Micro-PCs like the ML08 and TJ08-PRO, which are Silverstone's two new designs. “New.” The ML08 is a living room-geared update of the Raven RVZ02, which Silverstone showed off at CES this year, while the TJ08-PRO is an update to its popular TJ08-E Micro-ATX design, designed with better liquid cooling support. Here's a glimpse at what it looks like:
Stay tuned to PCWorld all week for more news out of Computex 2015.